Wiel Arets recently completed the Allianz Headquarters in Zürich, Switzerland. Comprised of a 20 storey tower, and 5 storey annex, the Allianz Headquarters is a “hybrid-office and the pinnacle of a master planned mixed-use district on the edge of Zürich’s city center”.
The Allianz Headquarters can be experienced as horizontal and vertical landscape of neighbourhoods.
Originally, the building façade was meant to be composed of natural stone, as per the new district’s master plan requirements. However, Wiel Arets chose to use an intricate fritting technique, on the building’s full glass façade, that gives the appearance of Onyx marble. Reminescent of Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion, the building blends into its context, yet still maintains a distinguished appearance.
Each element of the façade contains a closed cavity system, in which an aluminum coated silver curtain hangs, which fluctuates its degree of shading by responding to external environmental factors–a process administered by a computer controlled algorithm.
The main 20 storey tower of the building is connected to a 5 storey annex through a series of four bridges, as well as numerous interior voids and staircases. The entire main floor is publicly accessible, featuring a central staircase that connects all 20 storeys, allowing employees to interact throughout all levels of the office.
Fluidly connected to the city center by a multitude of public transportation options, the building encourages the blossoming of twenty-first century office culture, which demands flexibility in space and its use, via its hyper-hybrid programming that amplifies ‘interiority’.
The architects introduced a series of espresso corners and lounge areas throughout the building, to stimulate informal conversation in a highly formal working environment. The employees are also given the opportunity to relax on several garden terraces that feature Japanese maple trees.
The fifth floor of the building houses a café and restaurant, as a transition zone between public and non-public areas. One floor below includes the business center, which enables employees to meet with their guests, without the use of elevators.
The interior of the building is heated and cooled through a panelled ceiling system that “utilizes concrete core activation and concealed air ventilation”. These panels are composed of “crumpled” steel sheets stamped with a three-dimensional pattern, derived from traditional ornamentation of Swiss chalet eave.
Project team: Wiel Arets, Felix Thies, Maik Ilmer
Location: Richtiplatz 1, 8034 Wallisellen, Switzerland
Size: 72.000 m2
Date of design: 2008-2009
Date of completion: Spring 2014
Collaborators: Flavio Loretz, Jörg Lüthke, Ruth Val Garijo, Virginia Angell, Anira Niso, Angela Tsang, Mikal Switalsky, Jacques van Eyck, Maron Vondeling, Christina Lotzemer Jentges, Joost Körver, Ilze Paklone, Alexandra Dobrowowolska, Boris van Eijsden, Joris Lens, Thomas Misik, Lucia Miglio, Hannes Scheutz, Dunia Nedjar, Francois Steul, Alexis Bikos, Athanasia Karaioannoglou, Victor Hidajat, Aline Amore, Birgit Schwarz, Tieme Zwartbol, Boris Wolf, Chris Frodsham, Alessandra Ferrari, Marcos Romero
Client: Allreal Generalunternehmung AG, Allianz Suisse
Consultants: GKP Fassadentechnik AG, R+B Engineering AG, Ahochn AG, Jäger Partner Bauingenieure AG, GRP Ingenieure, Kardorff Ingenieure
*All images and information courtesy of Wiel Arets Architects.